10 cybersecurity tips.

Author:Baker, C. Daniel

Cyber criminals are real threat. Here's how to avoid being a victim

CYBER CRIMINALS ARE GOING AFTER SMALL BUSINESSES more than ever, with startups at the greatest risk. According to the security software giant Symantec Corp.'s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report, 31% of all targeted attacks are directed at small businesses with less than 250 employees. Moreover, cyberattackers target startups roughly two months after a new business establishes its website and exchanges its first e-mails.

Cyber criminals prey on small businesses for their customer data, intellectual property, and bank account info. Small businesses are easy targets for cyber criminals for several masons: one being the lack of security practice. Small business owners are mistaken in believing they don't have what cyberattackers want and thinking that they are immune to attacks targeted at them.

Cybersecurity threats are real and businesses must implement the best tools and tactics to protect themselves, their customers, and their data.

The Federal Communications Commission offers these 10 key cybersecurity tips to protect your small business:

1 Train employees in security principles.

Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to protect customer information and other vital data.

2 Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks.

Keep clean machines--having the latest security software, Web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other software updates as soon as they are available.

3 Provide firewall security for your Internet connection.

Make sure the operating system's firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.

4 Create a mobile device action plan.

Mobile devices can create security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks.

5 Make backup copies of...

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